Girl Scout Goes Full Circle: From Daisy to GSGCF Intern

By guest blogger Samantha Hyatt

Cookie Exchange-1 (1)For the past 15 years, Girl Scouts has played a huge role in my life. I joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy in kindergarten, earned my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards over the years, and I am now the Corporate Communications Intern for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

When I joined Girl Scouts in 2002, I did not know the profound impact it would have on my life. I learned to sew, pitch a tent, become an entrepreneur, and I gained immeasurable leadership skills. Along the way, I made friends who have withstood the test of time. Some of my best memories growing up are from camping, horseback riding, and going on adventures with my troop and Cookies (2)my mom as my leader.

Throughout my time as a Girl Scout, my troop had an impact on so many people in our community. We sang Christmas carols at assisted living homes, were buddies with the athletes for Special Olympics bowling, purchased Christmas gifts for less fortunate children, and so much more. For our Bronze Award, we collected donated items for a family close to our troop who lost their home in a fire. To earn our Silver Award, we made cooling neckties to send to troops overseas.

In 2015, I began competing in Miss America Organization scholarship pageants where each contestant is required to have a personal service platform. Girl Scouts was an easy pick for my platform. As Miss DeSoto Heritage, I encourage girls to join Girl Scouts and remain active in their troops throughout high school. I got so much out of being a Girl Scout in high school and I want other girls to have the same opportunities. Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to speak with 110 Girl Scouts about dreaming big, going for their Gold Awards, and graduating high school as Girl Scouts. I proudly wear my Girl Scout membership pin on my Miss DeSoto Heritage sash everywhere I go.

My senior year of high school, I started a prom dress recycling program at Lakewood Ranch High School, titled Primping for Prom and Pageants, for my Gold Award. Students and alumnae donated their prom dresses so girls who could not afford prom dresses could borrow them free of charge for prom and return them the following week. In just two years, over 30 prom gowns have been donated to my program, and girls benefit from it every year. The community support I have received, and continue to receive, for my program is incredible.

I was also a recipiedsc_1248.jpgnt of the Dr. Elinor Crawford Girl Scout College Scholarship my senior year of high school, which helped pay for my college expenses at the University of Florida the following year. Being able to state that I had been a Girl Scout for 13 years on my college applications was a great feeling, and I believe it contributed greatly to the fact that I was accepted to every college I applied. After my high school graduation, I became a lifetime member of Girl Scouts.

To fulfill my public relations internship requirement for graduation at the University of Florida, I knew I wanted to intern with Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. I wanted to give back to the organization that has given me so much throughout my life. As the Corporate Communications Intern for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, I get to see behind the scenes of what it takes to make this organization so impactful for girls of all ages. Now I get to help plan the events I used to look forward to attending when I was younger.

I hope to have a daughter in Girl Scouts one day so I can encourage her to pursue her goals and go on adventures out of her comfort zone the same way my mom did for me. I have had so many special opportunities through this organization and I hope to inspire young girls to take advantage of all the benefits being Girl Scouts can give them.

Girl Scouts gave me the mindset that with hard work, persistence, and faith in myself, I can achieve anything, and that is a lesson I will carry with me for life.

 

Sarasota Girl Scout Develops Turtle Protection Program

Sarasota resident and Pine View School student Mikaelyn Pavlisin has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Totally Turtle Protection Program.

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Pavlisin turned her passion for sea turtles into a hands-on, interactive curriculum for students in grades 2 – 5. Totally Turtle Protection Program teaches children about the various species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, why they are endangered, and what can be done to help protect them.  She partnered with Mote Marine, Longboat Key Turtle Watch, and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch to develop the program and materials.

The curriculum has been shared with local schools and libraries, and turtle watch volunteers are available to help present the program as needed. Pavlisin hopes that, over time, the program will result in cleaner coastlines, increased involvement in beach cleanups, and more participation in turtle watch programs and conservation efforts.

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“I have always enjoyed giving back to my community,” said Pavlisin.  “Growing up, I was frequently told I could make a difference. This project helped me see that I really can.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Englewood Girl Scout Helps New Moms Find Serenity

Englewood resident and Lemon Bay High School student Kaylee Ferrell has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Serenity for SOLVE.

20160110_120439[1] reduced.jpgSOLVE Maternity Home in Englewood provides housing and support services to pregnant women in need. After reading studies that show flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and a long-term positive effect on mood, Kaylee was inspired to establish a serenity garden for the residents.

The residents of SOLVE will maintain the garden as part of their regular responsibilities at the shelter. Kaylee’s hope is that the garden will also help raise community awareness of the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the women at SOLVE.

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“Having a beautiful flower garden will help the women have a better sense of well-being,” said Kaylee.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sarasota Girl Scout Brings Hope to Homeless Moms

Sarasota resident and Nova Southeastern University student Emily Sisk has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, It’s Not the End.

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Sisk’s goal was to provide hope and support to residents of Our Mother’s House in Venice, a transitional housing program for homeless moms with young children. She organized a “baby shower” to collect diapers, clothing, and gift cards for families at Our Mother’s House.

She also gave a presentation and created an educational brochure to help the moms recognize the signs of an unhealthy, abusive relationship; resources where they can seek help; and ways to help their children through times of trouble.

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“The moms seemed to be truly happy to have new knowledge that can help them in the future,” said Sisk.

Each resident of Our Mother’s House received a photo frame with an inspirational message, assuring them that no matter how difficult their situation, there is hope, and “it’s not the end” of their journey.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Lee County Girl Scout Promotes Student Mentorship

Lee County resident and Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School student Megan Emeric has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Mentoring Young Minds.

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Recognizing a need to support young students struggling academically, Megan established a mentoring program at Cape Coral Christian School. She matched high school students with K-1st-grade students in need, to help build their self-esteem and motivate them to do better in school.

The high-school mentors meet weekly with the younger students to help them with schoolwork and projects while serving as positive role models. The program benefits not only the younger students but also the mentors themselves, especially those considering a career in teaching.

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“Older students don’t realize they can positively impact their younger schoolmates by helping them become more successful in school,” said Megan. She hopes to expand the program into other schools.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

 

Sarasota Girl Scout Inspires Bay Conservation

Sarasota resident and Hillsborough Community College freshman Meredith Worthley has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Sarasota Bay: Marine Organism Ecosystem.

Worthley GA project 5.jpgGrowing up in Sarasota, Meredith spent a lot of time in and around the water. She was inspired to keep Sarasota Bay thriving by educating the next generation of conservationists about the importance of our marine ecosystems.

Meredith developed a hands-on, interactive curriculum for young students, which is adaptable to any bay in the world. The program also encourages students to develop their own conservation projects with friends or family. Meredith shares her curriculum with all who are interested on her blog, SRQbay.blogspot.com.

Worthley GA project 9.jpg“Because of this project, I am much more comfortable dealing with issues straight on,” said Meredith. “My leadership skills have improved so much… I believe in myself.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sarasota Girl Scout Fights Human Trafficking

Sarasota Girl Scout Ambassador and Booker High School student Raven Peters has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Break the Bonds.

Raven was shocked to learn that Florida is the third most at-risk state in the U.S. for human trafficking.  She developed her Gold Award project to make the community more aware of this issue, while providing support and resources to survivors and current victims.

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Raven organized and hosted a public symposium, created a service project to assemble toiletry kits for local shelters, published a brochure of local resources for victims, and worked with New College of Florida to implement a human trafficking clause into the school’s Title IX (sex discrimination) policy.

“I wish to become an international human rights lawyer,” Raven said. “This project has given me the ability to identify an issue and take action to do my best to address it.”

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The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.